“The Biggest Mistake I Made Was…”

One of the best things I like about other veterinarians is their ability and willingness to learn from their mistakes and more importantly admit and even share them. With gusto. Usually this is about medical things but can be about most anything. For whatever reason I think veterinarians, perhaps more than most others, use the fact that things go wrong as lessons in life.

Most of us can remember any time a patient has an unfortunate outcome and we vets take it very personally that we either caused or could have prevented that from happening. It may not be true, but if we can take any little thing and sear it into our minds as “I’m not going to do that ever again!” then we will. This teaches something that takes hold much more strongly than ALL the times something worked for us. The bad things that happen are ever remembered.

This came to me with the recent conversation I had with a vet with a lot of experience who had built a large vet hospital complex with ancillary stores and in fact owned the whole shopping mall complex. The intent was to build a 24 hour facility and he was happy to share the fact that he lost all this money over the unbuilt water therapy area among other things. He had sunk all he had into this dream project and the economy had hit him hard.

And what he had to share was a minor financial point, using the quote above. Which just amazes me that somebody I barely knew was willing to show how he “blew” it just to let another of his kind (a veterinarian) know so that maybe they could prevent it from happening to themselves in the future or would share with other vets. Just remarkable.


Making mistakes and sharing them can be a key to learning


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